September 2015 eNewsletter

OES Interns at a corn maze and pumpkin patch last year.

Spurred by the onset of a neck injury, lately I have been thinking about unseen connections — about those interrelated parts and systems and hidden to the untrained eye. Specialists are trained to see these relationships: medical providers (should) aim to understand all the factors involved in a person’s well-being, from their diets to their environment to their genetics; ecologists endeavor to learn about the complex ecology of physical places, the beings that rely on each other, and the relationships between those beings. To me, this kind of systems thinking and intersectionality is what sustainability is all about. A mindset that is open to understanding, challenging, and contributing to systems dynamics between natural environment, financial economy, and human society.
OES defines sustainability as more than “meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their needs.” Rather, we go beyond a mere level of functioning to think about societies in which systems flourish. You might have heard of the three pillars of sustainability, or the triple bottom line: the mutual assemblage of healthy environment, social equity, and responsible economics. To me, what the sustainability movement represents is a movement and concept that doesn’t leave anyone behind. For me, it means feeling like my work supports, coincides, and props up the work and movements of many others (when I’m doing it right, anyway). It means acknowledging power dynamics and addressing injustices for all (including non-human animals, plants, and the natural world) by recognizing the connections between environmental, financial, and social systems.
In order to more adequately reflect what we do, capture our vision of sustainability, and the collaborative nature of our office, OES has begun work to revise our mission and vision statements. I look forward to sharing this new language in the future. It seems like fitting timing given recent events, like the Black Lives Matter movement, the Strategic Planning process, and OES’ upcoming 10 year anniversary! We will certainly celebrate that anniversary in 2016.

Speaking of celebration, I am so excited to announce that we have hired our new interns for the 2015-16 academic year. At a total of 11 interns, this will be the largest cohort of interns in the Oberlin College Office of Environmental Sustainability’s history! They are an absolutely remarkable crew and I am so excited for everything they will do this year. Each intern has a completely unique position description suited to their wealth of experiences, passions, skills, and interests.Returning interns are Mae Kate Campbell (Communications and Web Initiatives Intern), CJ Blair (Green Office Program Intern), and Emma Ayzenberg (From Coal to Carbon Neutrality Intern), Hillary Pan (Green EDGE Fund Liaison). Incoming interns include Jane Clark (Ecolympics Intern), Gabe Jacobson (Finance Metrics Intern), Maggy Johnson (Sustainability Map & App Intern), Jesus Martinez (Energy Conservation Finance Intern), Moses Riley (Sustainable Purchasing Intern), Liam Russo (Writer), and Camille Sacristan (Student Transportation Coordinator). In anticipation of hearing from them directly in future blogs, articles, programs, websites, events, tours, and presentations, you can read more about them here. I am absolutely thrilled about our team and look forward to what’s on the horizon with this outstanding crew.

The first OES meeting with the entire internship team!

– Bridget Flynn, Sustainability Coordinator

News & Announcements:

  • OES Establishes Intern Team: This semester marks the largest OES intern cohort ever! With a total of 11 outstanding interns, our office will be beaming with new activity, projects, and passion. Learn more about our incredible team by visiting our Staff Page here.
  • Oberlin represented at the Sustainable Cleveland 2019 Summit: Representatives from OES and the Oberlin Project attended the Sustainable Cleveland 2019 Summit sponsored by the Mayor of Cleveland’s Office of Sustainability. The summit brought together students, residents, educators, building professionals, cyclists, policy makers and featured terrific keynotes, innovative facilitation, and celebration — all while being zero waste. Learn more about the Summit here.
  • AASHE 2015: The annual Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE) is going to have solid representation from Oberlin College. Our very own, David Orr will be giving the opening keynote to the 2,000+ attendees of the conference. For the first time in a few years, students from Oberlin College will be able to participate in the conference and the student summit activity. Bridget Flynn (Sustainability Coordinator) will be presenting on a panel about OC’s endeavors with community-based social marketing. Meghan Riesterer (Assistant Vice President of Energy Management and Sustainability) and Sean Hayes (Director, Oberlin Project) will be presenting on college and community collaboration in developing resilient, sustainable energy systems. John Petersen (Professor, Environmental Studies) and Augustus Arthur (Project Manager, Environmental Dashboard) will be presenting on the effectiveness of the Dashboard and Campus Conservation Nationals. Oberlin will have a great presence at this prestigious conference.
  • Green Energy Ohio Tour: The annual Green Energy Ohio tour is Saturday, October 3. Once again Oberlin will be hosting visitors at various sites throughout the day. If you haven’t been to the fire station, AJLC, or large solar array, this is a great chance. If you are interested in residential efficiency, now is your opportunity to see Trail Magic and an assortment of forward-thinking homes in Oberlin. The schedule can be found here.

If you haven’t been to the solar array, join the tour on Saturday at 11AM.

Upcoming Events:
For all environmental-related events on campus – check out the Environmental Events Calendar! If you would like it to be shared with you, email Bridget. If you would like one of your events to be added to eNewsletter, please email us.October 3Green Energy Ohio – Oberlin Tour @ 9-4PM at Various Locations: Once again Oberlin will be hosting visitors at various sites throughout the day beginning with the fire station. The tour will then move to the AJLC, the large solar array, the Farmer’s Market, downtown Oberlin, SEED Ventures, and three innovative homes in Oberlin. The schedule can be found here.October 7Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies Graduate Program Info Session 4:30-6:30pm in King 101: The Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies is one of 13 graduate and professional schools at Yale University. Located in New Haven, CT, F&ES is the oldest forestry school in North America and boasts some of the top researchers, leaders and historical figures in the environment worldwide. Come hear about the Yale F&ES programs, admission process, and what it is like to be a student. It is a great, informal way to learn more about graduate school and get all of your questions answered! [Calendar/RSVP]October 13OES Hangout: Fall Festival @ 5:30pm in Wilder 115: Come celebrate all that is autumn with the Office of Environmental Sustainability! Bring a vegan dish to share, or simply enjoy provided food (lots of pumpkiny treats!) and company. [Facebook]

October 14Campus-wide Paper Shredding and Confidential Recycling Event @ 8-10AM at Parking Lot behind Hales Gym: The Department of Procurement and Auxiliary Services is sponsoring a campus wide shred event. Employees are encouraged to bring any college or personal shredding to the Hales lot during this time, at no cost to you. The college transportation department will not transport your boxes to this area. Any questions should be directed to Kris Weber at x58838.

For more info and to see a full list of events, please the Events tab on the OES website: http://new.oberlin.edu/office/environmental-sustainability/events/

Numbers:
In our journey to carbon neutrality, Oberlin has opted for solar as a source of clean energy. Check out these facts about our solar arrays, expressed in numbers.Oberlin has 4 solar arrays producing energy for the campus. The rooftop solar array on the Adam Joseph Lewis Center (AJLC) for Environmental Studies produces 59 kilo-watts (kW) (at the time it was built in 2001, it was the largest solar array in Ohio) and the Lewis Center Solar Parking Pavilion produces 101 kW. The solar array near the north athletic fields is the biggest producer of solar energy on College property, and the 7th largest in the State of Ohio at 2.27 mega-watts (MW). With 7722 panels covering 10.5 acres of land, it’s about the size of Tappan Square! The Savage Stadium Scoreboard also boasts solar panels, producing a modest 175 W to power the display. Finally, the newest solar addition to Oberlin’s campus is the Kahn Rooftop Array, producing 10 kW.
Did you know?
  • The super moon eclipse on September 27th was a fairly rare occurrence, the previous eclipse took place in 1982, and the next super moon eclipse will take place in 2033!
  • The moon looked red due to “Raleigh scattering“. The white light that the moon usually reflects from the sun was bent by the Earth’s shadow moving in front of the moon to cause the eclipse–the longer red wavelengths still pass through the atmosphere, but the shorter wavelengths are more scattered, lending the moon its reddish color.

Green Tips

  • Head to the Farm: Autumn brings fresh produce, hayrides, and apple picking! Celebrate fall and support local agriculture by catching the last couple days of the Oberlin Farmer’s Market (Saturdays 9am-1pm in front of the Public Library through the end of October), decorating your room with pumpkins from a farmstead, or going to a local orchard!
  • Fall Wardrobe: Bring out all those warm sweaters, socks, slippers and blankets so that when the temperature falls you’ll be ready to bundle up instead of raising the thermostat. Before packing away those summer clothes, go through them and determine which items to keep, which items to repurpose into something else (cleaning rags, craft projects, etc.) and which to donate to the Free Store! Also check out the Free Store for fall apparel essentials you need before you buy new items.
  • Sustainable Transportation: With cooler temperatures in store, you may be tempted to drive walkable distances to stay warm. However, driving short distances releases a huge amount of greenhouse gas emissions, because your car’s catalytic converter doesn’t have the opportunity to heat up! Consider more sustainable alternatives such as biking, or taking the Oberlin Shopping Shuttle, which stops at Walmart, IGA, and Drug Mart.
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